By Arlene Solis Chua
I just had my two month work vacation. Thank God it fell on summer time in the Philippines where I celebrated my father’s birthday, graduation of my two nephews, and Holy Week. With me around, it was amazingly a long holiday for my sister and niece.
Everybody said that working in a cruise ship is like traveling for free and getting paid too. But I was still excited to go home and travel again within the islands, although not for free, but together with my family and close friends.
I went to Camiguin of my dreams, at last, in this vacation. I visited two majestic waterfalls, three refreshing springs,
and two spectacular islands in Camiguin, also known as the island of fire where four of seven volcanoes sit idly.
From Cebu, we rode an 11-hour boat ride to Cagayan De Oro, did a two-hour drive by car to Balingoan Port in Misamis Oriental, and finally, one hour ferry ride to Benoni Camiguin Port.
I arrived in paradise!
The Katibawasan Falls cascades spectacularly 250 ft down to a pool of refreshing cool waters surrounded by ferns and orchids. It is located 5 km. southeast of Mambajao. This falls is a favorite of trekkers and mountaineers who seek fun and adventure in Mt. Timpoong.
We also went to the Ardent Hot Spring which is at the foot the Hibok-Hibok Volcano, the most recently active of the seven volcanoes on the island. Bubbles and steam rise from the running steamy waters of the spring, which takes the form of a cauldron of the volcano.
The last stop of the day was the Sunken Cemetery. This underwater cemetery was submerged when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in the 1870s. The large cross has served as a scenic spot to memorialize those who were buried there. The Sunken Cemetery looks eerie, but beautiful.
The horse shoe-shaped White Island is an uninhabited white sandbar located about 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) off the northern shore of Mambajao. The tides constantly resize and reshape its exact form all throughout the day and night.
Our second stop was the Mantigue Island about 3.5 km off the coast of Camiguin. It is also known as Magsaysay Island, which is about four hectares of lush greenery, trimmed with white beach of powdery coral sand.
A fishing village exists in the northern side of the island which the other side is a white sand beach with corals and the opposite site is a deep drop off for snorkeling and diving.
We also visited the Tuasan Falls, located 6 km. northeast of Catarman. It is a clear and deep pool, a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
I did my reflective walk on Good Friday (as part of my spiritual promise or panaad) through Camiguin’s Old Volcano Walkway. Everything felt wonderful in that vacation, in Camiguin of my dreams.